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Green Tea Extract: A Cancer Fighter

Over the past few months, I've posted a number of articles about the benefits of green tea, primarily as a cancer-fighter. A UCLA study of bladder cancer cells offers more creedence to those previous studies, as it shows how green tea extract can work as an anti-cancer agent, targeting cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, in addition to counteracting the development of cancer.

Previous studies have shown green tea extract induces death in cancer cells, as well as inhibiting the development of an independent blood supply that cancers develop so they can grow and spread. In this new study, scientists showed how green tea extract interrupts a process that is crucial in allowing bladder cancer to become invasive and spread to other areas of the body.

Green tea extract affects actin remodeling, an event associated with cell movement. When a human moves, the muscles and skeletal structure operate together to facilitate that movement. For cancer to grow and spread, the malignant cells must be able to move.

Cell movement depends on actin remodeling, which is carefully regulated by complex signaling pathways, including the Rho pathway. When actin remodeling is activated, the cancer cells can move and invade other healthy cells and eventually other organs. By inducing Rho signaling, the green tea extract made the cancer cells more mature and made them bind together more closely, a process called cell adhesion. Both the maturity of the cells and the adhesion inhibited the mobility of the cancer cells.

Some 56,000 new cases of bladder cancer -- the fifth most common in this country -- are diagnosed annually. About half of these cases are related to smoking, one of the worst things you can do to your body.

EurekAlert February 15, 2005

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